CLEARWATER — Clearwater Central Catholic held off a furious rally by Sarasota Cardinal Mooney to squeak by with a victory.
The Marauders (5-3) led 26-7 late in the third quarter, but Cardinal Mooney ran off 18 unanswered points, pulling within one on a 1-yard run by quarterback Grant Flesner with 2:33 remaining. The Cougars' two-point conversion try failed. They got one more shot with 1:15 left, but Patrick O'Brien intercepted Flesner.
"This game shows a lot about the character of our kids," CCC coach Mike Jalazo said. "They held on and made the big play when needed."
Nick Newton threw two first-half touchdowns for CCC, with Blake Mayregaard added a field goal for a 17-7 halftime lead. CCC added nine points with a 15-yard run by Justin Goodloe and a safety.
Colby Cole, Times correspondent